• By:okebugwuadmin

Before March 2016, if you were a foreign national of a visa-exempt country[1] who wished to visit or transit through Canada by air, you would simply purchase your tickets, pack your bags and get on your flight to Canada. Airline officials and Immigration officers only checked your passport for validity and to confirm identity.

In March of 2016, the Government of Canada put into effect a new entry requirement which required foreign nationals of visa exempt countries to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before they can board a flight to Canada or transit through Canada. This new entry requirement however does not apply to U.S citizens or persons with valid Canadian visas and who therefore do not need to have an ETA before they can board a flight to Canada or transit through Canada.

The new entry requirement has been put in place and is in effect, but is still within a leniency period, so that visa exempt nationals can still board flights without having an ETA as long as they have appropriate travel documents.

Come September 29, 2016, foreign nationals of visa- exempt countries who wish to travel to Canada or transit through Canada by air, MUST obtain an ETA before they are allowed to board a flight to Canada.

Getting an ETA requires you to:

  • complete an application form online which takes about 5-15 mins and an approval is usually granted immediately.
  • pay the cost of $7 CAD which is required to be made by credit card.
  • have a valid passport, email address and contact details all of which are required to complete the form.

Once approved, the ETA is electronically linked to your passport and valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. This means that you are not required to apply for an ETA each time you travel to Canada.

It is advisable to apply for an ETA before booking your ticket just to be certain and allow for time to resolve any issues, if encountered, while applying for the ETA.

If you are a person with dual citizenship, i.e Canadian citizen and also a citizen of a visa-exempt country, come September 29, 2016 you will be required to travel with your Canadian passport before you can board a flight to Canada without an ETA. Dual Canadian citizens are not required to apply for ETA as the system is only set up to screen foreign nationals.

You can make an ETA application on your own or have a representative make the application on your behalf. Feel free to contact us if you need us to assist with your ETA application.

[1] A Foreign national of a visa-exempt country is one who is not a permanent resident or citizen of Canada and is not required to obtain a visa for the purpose of travel based on their country of nationality.


Posted in: Immigration Law